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Leading destination's multi-million dollar upgrade

New Zealand’s leading tourism destination gets multi-million dollar upgrade
Expanded Milford Sound Visitor Terminal opened by Minister of Tourism

MILFORD SOUND, February 24, 2006 – Today an expanded Milford Sound Visitor Terminal was opened by the Minister of Tourism, Hon Damien O’Connor. The original 650m² terminal building was opened in 1992 and the $2.7m 300m² extension has been designed to provide additional visitor capacity in the middle of the day during the peak summer season.

Located within the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, majestic Milford Sound is New Zealand’s leading tourism destination, attracting visitors from around the world (475,145 in the year ended March 31, 2005). Milford Sound’s iconic grandeur is symbolised by the view of Mitre Peak reflected in the fiord.

Research by Tourism New Zealand shows that visitors to New Zealand are increasingly discerning. They want a quality experience and the opportunity to interact with the landscape. Visiting a fiord and a national park are high on the list of things they would like to do.

The visitor terminal, designed to complement the dramatic surroundings, will provide an improved visitor experience through a 30 per cent addition of public space, more storage, a significant increase in toilet facilities and a greater covered area adjacent to the terminal building. Concessionaires also benefit from additional counter and administration space.

Milford Sound Development Authority Chairman, Jeff Grant, said that the spacious new design of the terminal will better meet the needs of this increasingly discerning visitor market and that the multi-million dollar investment in the terminal demonstrated the Authority’s strong confidence in the future of Milford as a tourism destination.


Milford Sound Development Authority fact sheet attached

Minister’s speech notes available from under either “Hon Damien O'Connor” or the “Tourism” portfolio.


The Milford Sound Development Authority

- Milford Development Authority was established in the late 1980s as a consortium comprising Tourism Hotel Corporation, Fiordland Travel Ltd and the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

- THC assets were subsequently sold to Tourism Holdings Ltd.

- Local boundary reorganisation saw QLDC replaced by Southland District Council.

- Both the Department of Conservation and NZ Tourism were invited to join the consortium but chose not to do so.

- The consortium was replaced by a formal company structure Milford Sound Development Authority Ltd in 1990.

- The MDA was established to handle the redevelopment and operation of tourism infrastructure assets, primarily in Freshwater Basin.

- MDA is a private company. The shareholders are Tourism Holdings Ltd (49 %), Fiordland Travel Ltd (49 %) and Southland District Council (2%).

- A board of directors comprising 1 THL representative, 1FTL representative and 1 SDC representative governs the company. The Board meets every two months.

- Current board members are Jeff Grant, (SDC) Chairman; Dennis Pickup, CEO (THL); Dave Hawkey, CEO (FTL).

- Alternate directors include John Robson, Operations Manager Milford Sound Red Boats (THL); Paul Norris, Area Manager Milford/Manapouri (FTL); David Adamson, CEO (SDC).

- Company secretaries, Ward Wilson Ltd.

MDA responsibilities

Responsible for most facilities at Freshwater Basin including:
- Roading, landscaping, coach and car parking, signage, walkways, visitor terminal wharf and promenade area, berthage, harbour area, breakwater, sewage plant.

Also responsible for:
- Operating public toilet complex at Knobs Flat
- Civil Defence co-ordination
- Fuel spill control
- Rubbish collection
- First aid in visitor terminal
- Harbour control
- Courtesy bus

MDA customers

Operating from Freshwater Basin:

- Tourism Holdings Ltd
- Fiordland Travel Ltd
- Mitre Peak Cruises Ltd
- Cruising Milford Ltd
- Milford Deep Ltd
- Magic Memories Ltd
- Milford Sound Scenic Flights Ltd
- Milford Sound Flightseeing Ltd

Operating outside Freshwater Basin:

- Department of Conservation
- Airlines
- Fiordland Lobster
- Tourism Milford Ltd
- Milford Lodge

MDA tourism statistics

Year ended 31 March 1995, total tourist numbers to Milford Sound 308,377
Year ended 31 March 2005, total tourist numbers to Milford Sound 475,145
It is estimated that 85 per cent of Milford Sound visitors are international. The remaining 15 per cent are New Zealand holidaymakers.

The new visitor terminal

- Architects: McCulloch Architects Invercargill, architects for the original building.
- Builders: Amalgamated Builders Ltd, Invercargill.
- The $2.7 million capital cost has been totally funded by MDA borrowings and will be repaid from visitor levies. Currently these are $4 + GST per each adult launch passenger.
- The terminal extensions will take the total building area to approximately 950 square metres (from 650m²).
- Toilet facilities have significantly increased.

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